CHILDREN have been making the most of the walking and cycling opportunities created by the first Bee Network scheme to open in Tameside.
The development includes enhancements to an off-road path for people to enjoy walking and cycling at Chadwick Dam, through Ashton and Stalybridge, and a new crossing at Mossley Road – all improving access to the park and connections between residential areas and Tameside Hospital.
Pupils at neighbouring Silver Springs Primary Academy have been using the new network to make sustainable journeys to and from school.
And they enjoyed two events last week that saw the children using the new facilities to take part in healthy and educational activities.
Simon the Storyteller read the classic "Where The Wild Things Are" and made the most of the natural surroundings as he led pupils, who wore masks and hats to celebrate elements of the story, through the park. Teachers were there to support the event and see how Chadwick Dam can be used for educational activities.
A running event was also held as part of the school's Sport's Week, helping children get fit and active in the fresh air.
School Principal Deborah Mason said: "The children loved taking part in these events and exploring the natural environment at Chadwick Dam. The new facilities will be of great benefit to the school when holding similar activities and to give families living in that surrounding area the option to cycle or ride to and from school."
Stalybridge North ward councillors Jan Jackson, Sam Gosling and Adrian Pearce have supported the project in partnership with the school.
Councillor Jan Jackson, Tameside Council's Executive Member for Planning, Transport and Connectivity, said: "I'm delighted that the work at Chadwick Dam is complete and that the children at Silver Springs Primary Academy, and local residents, are already making full use of the new facilities. The two events held by Silver Springs were fantastic fun, it was lovely to join them at the storytelling by the lake, and were a brilliant way to get children learning about the great outdoors and taking part in healthy activities while enjoying the fresh air and education.
"The Chadwick Dam scheme will give a healthier, greener, more sustainable travel option for those making short journeys in the area and is just one of the many improvements we're making to our walking and cycling infrastructure across Tameside."
Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner, said: "Chadwick Dam is a terrific scheme that will have a huge boost on the local community who will benefit from improved routes to cycle, walk or wheel in such a green, attractive space.
"It's wonderful that students from Silver Springs Primary Academy are already making the most of the improvements, and I look forward to seeing more people getting out and enjoying what Chadwick Dam has to offer."
Chadwick Dam has also benefitted from additional planting and new benches to make it a more attractive route and a sensory garden is being created by Ridgehill Big Local Enterprises.
Consultation on the scheme took place in early 2020 with the vast majority of respondents indicating that it would encourage them to cycle and walk more. Changes were made to the designs as a result of feedback.
Following consultation, three bat boxes will be installed soon as local knowledge highlighted that the area was well used by bat enthusiasts.
Greater Manchester's Bee Network will provide a 1,800 mile, joined up cycling and walking network across the city-region to connect every neighbourhood and community and make it easier for people to get around on foot or by bike. It's funded by The Mayor's Challenge Fund (MCF) with £160million being invested across Greater Manchester. Find out more at www.tameside.gov.uk/MCF